How long does an olive tree take to grow: we tell you what factors affect it

olive tree development

Many people ask how long does an olive tree take to grow. The olive tree, like any other tree, goes through a youthful period in which all the resources are available for the vegetative development of the plant, growing rapidly with the discharge of branches with long internodes. By “fast” we mean the slower subsequent growth of olive trees as they reach adulthood, as this species is generally quite slow compared to other fruit trees such as cherry trees.

In this article we are going to tell you how long it takes for an olive tree to grow and what factors must be taken into account for this growth.

Olive tree characteristics

know how long it takes to grow an olive tree

know how long it takes to grow an olive tree

It is an evergreen tree with a rounded crown and does not usually exceed 10 meters in height, although there are some references to 15 meters, this is certainly the exception. Leaves lanceolate, opposite, entire, leathery, grayish-green above and pale green below.

Pollination occurs almost exclusively by wind, and crossbreeding between varieties is recommended, although it is not the most common. Olive trees are partially self-pollinated, that is, the flowers can self-pollinate, although not ideally.

The fruit of the olive it is a juicy drupe with high oil content, 1 to 3,5 cm longoval or spherical in shape, green at first and dark purple when fully ripe. Ripening occurs in late fall and early winter, but if they are to be harvested for conservation, they are collected in early to mid fall, while still green.

Factors that influence how long an olive tree takes to grow

Since olive trees almost always come from cuttings or cuttings, it takes more time to develop a root system than it does from seed. Therefore, growth will be minimal during the first months after planting, and as the tree takes root, we will notice how it becomes more vigorous. To promote rooting it is important that the soil is always moist, spongy and aerated, without areas of compaction near the olive trees.

But beyond that, the agroclimatic factors of the plant and other factors have a great impact on the growth of the olive tree, maximizing it when these factors are at their optimum point and decreasing it when they are further away.

Like other plants, olive trees have a set of optimal growing conditionsoften related to the environmental adaptations to which each variety is subjected in its place of origin or growth, and are artificially selected. Therefore, we cannot pretend that a variety that is better adapted to very hot climates will look the same in colder climates, because these are not conditions for which it is genetically prepared.


The nutrients of the olive tree is the biggest factor, in addition to being in an ideal environment, it must find all the nutrients it needs in the soil, and these nutrients have to be balanced so that there is no excess compared to the other, since it can prevent the correct absorption of the latter. In professional plantations, soil and foliar analyzes are carried out to determine the nutrient requirements of the crops. On the other hand, at home, try to maintain the average pH of the soil -between slightly acidic and neutral- fertile, and regularly add various organic fertilizers, wood ashes, green manure, etc.


Without water, the nutrients in the soil cannot be absorbed by the roots and the biological processes of the plant cannot take place. Drought is a factor that can greatly limit growth, especially in the early years of an olive tree’s life, when the roots are not well developed and there is a limited amount of soil to explore. Nevertheless, the olive tree is a tree with a strong resistance to droughtdoes not mean that it develops well in drought conditions, it simply survives and does not wither.

Temperature and light

plant development it is optimal at warm temperatures, but not above 35 °C, when growth stops. The cooler the growing season (usually spring through fall), the slower the growth.

As for brightness, something similar happens. The olive tree prefers a sunny climate, so if it grows in a cloudy and dark environment, even in the development stage (spring and autumn), it will not grow optimally in this regard.

Pests, diseases and maintenance of the olive tree

olive trunk

olive trunk

This is common to all living beings. If the tree is infected with one or several diseases or is attacked by pests, its systems will consume many resources trying to combat the threat, in addition, the organisms that attack it are also extracting another large part of the olive tree’s resources.

If not handled properly, it can negatively affect the development of trees by slowing down their growth.

Genetic factors to know how long an olive tree takes to grow

Finally we will talk about the genetic characteristics of each race. Different cultivars or varieties arise within the same species through differentiation from a common ancestor. This differentiation occurs naturally due to the adaptation of the plant to a new environment or due to changes in the conditions of the environment in which it lives, but it can also occur artificially, with the farmer being responsible for choosing which trees he observes to grow better. and healthier. Under certain conditions, whose products are of higher or better quality, require less water and nutrients, etc.

So if a certain variety of olive tree is genetically determined to grow slowly, there is not much we can do about it. On the contrary, if the variety is very vigorous, as it always is, although we can slow down its growth a little, it will try to overcome it again and develop its natural form.

As we have already said, knowing how long an olive tree takes to grow can vary greatly depending on the more or less favorable factors that precede it. However, here we will present some of the most common approximate height data.

  • For a 2-year-old olive tree, we can expect it to be between 80cm and 1m tall.
  • At 3 years, in general, they can already reach 130 cm.
  • By the time they are 5 years old, they are likely to be over 150cm tall.
  • From this moment, some olives can begin to flower and ripen. The number of fruits will gradually increase until the olive tree is between 20 and 50 years old.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about how much to grow an olive tree and its characteristics.

How long does an olive tree take to grow: we tell you what factors affect it

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